The game of cricket, despite some superb games of late in the test arena seems to be forever taking one step forward and then two back.
The comments from Mr. Paul Condon the founding head of the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit last week opened up more questions of the past twenty years of cricket.
“In the late 1990’s Test and World cup matches were being routinely fixed. There were a number of teams involved in fixing, and certainly more than the Indian sub-continent teams were involved.”
Condon is a former head of London’s Metropolitan Police Force who helped set up the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit in 2000.
He went on to say “A whole generation of cricketers playing in the 1990’s must have known what was going on and did nothing.”
He added that the root of the problem lay in the English county competition where favours were traded between teams across limited overs games and the Championship competition.
“If you are team A and have a higher position in the Sunday league and I’m captain of team B and my team have no chance in the Sunday League, I might do a deal to ensure that you got maximum points in your Sunday league match.”
This argument has strong validity, as this writer experienced this very same situation in Minor counties cricket, except his captain double-crossed the opposition skipper and a brawl nearly ensued after the days play!
Condon believed that the 2003 World Cup in South Africa was clean in terms of match fixing but felt that this was where “spot-fixing” started. He was the man who persuaded the British Government to make cheating in sport a criminal offence in the 2005 Gambling act, and for the sake of the game it would be good to see other sporting nations adopt this stance.
As Mr Condon stated “To keep cricket clean sentences have to be exemplary.”